Dear Chis Cleave,
Little Bee has changed my outlook on pain and suffering. With the detailed telling of the painful incidents of Little Bee’s (or Udo’s) life, you also let her resilience shine through.
“We must all see scars as beauty … A scar means, I survived.” (p.9)
That quote in just the ninth page of the novel captivated me; it rewired my entire thought process dealing with sorrow. Now pain is just something that will one day be a memory of everything that I have wroked through and everything that I have accomplished. Pain is no longer something for me to complain about, or use as an excuse to let things get in my way. Tears may come, because tears have the power of drowning the dull ache that pain can leave inside of you, but tears will no longer drown me also. This message was echoed throughout the book, and most notably in the last page when Little Bee, Sarah, and Charlie (Batman) are on the beach in Nigerian, the very setting of her sister’s death.
“I felt the hard hand of a soldier on my arm but I did not turn around.”(p. 266) Instead she watched Charlie, accepted by the children of Nigeria, as she watched them she “laughed and laughed and laughed until the sound of the sea was drowned.”(p.266)
Little Bee did not make a scene. She did not complain; she only appreciated the joy she was given, and looked to one last scene of such a feeling with Charlie and the Nigerian children on the beach. This scene says quite a lot about strength by showing Little Bee laugh in such a moment of despair and sorrow. As the reader I cannot know of Little Bee’s fate and can only hope for the best for this fictional character who is now entagled in my life and thoughts, but from prior scenes in the book, I know of the harsh reality of the policemen of Nigeria. That is why this last scene is so powerful, because it embodies Little Bee’s strength and belief that pain is beauty.
“…a scar is never ugly. That is what scar makers want us to think,” (p.9)
This statement is why Little Bee laughs when facing her fate in p. 266, because she is standing up to the “scar makers”; she is defying them. And that is beautiful.